Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bánh Bao (Vietnamese pork stuffed steamed buns)

Bánh bao is the Vietnamese version of 包子 (baozi). I've been craving bánh bao for days now, but classes and work have kept me from making it. Thank goodness the weekend has arrived and I found enough time to make these.

I've been experimenting with different ratios of all purpose flour and low-gluten flour, and I found that using half-half of each flour works best to create a fluffy bao texture. However, if you do not have enough low-gluten flour, feel free to change the ratio.

I've also heard that you can create make-shift low-gluten flour by adding two tablespoons of corn starch to a cup before filling it with all purpose flour. I have yet to try this and will update on the outcome when I finally get to it!

Bánh Bao (Vietnamese Pork-stuffed Steamed Buns)

Savor. Devour.


Starter Dough:

· ½ cup lukewarm (~85°F) water

· ½ cup all purpose flour

· 1 tbsp (approx. 1 packet) active dry yeast

· 1 tbsp sugar

Bao Dough:

· ¾ cup all purpose flour

· ¾ cup low gluten (cake) flour

· 2 tsp baking powder, divided into two sections

· ½ tsp salt

· 2 tbsp sugar

· 1 tbsp oil

· ½ cup (~85°F) water (or a little more or a little less depending on the brand and ratio of flour you use)


· ½ lb ground pork

· ½ medium onion, minced

· 1 dozen quail eggs

· 2 Chinese sausages, sliced

· 6 shiitake mushrooms

· 1 tsp each: sesame oil, salt, pepper, sugar, oyster sauce, mushroom seasoning (or any msg substitute)

· 1.5 tbsp water

· 2 tbsp tapioca starch (can substitute with corn starch)


Starter Dough:

· Add all together in a big bowl and mix until well blended

· Let the starter dough rise for an hour (again, I like to heat up the oven for about 2 minutes and then turn it off to create a good environment for the yeast to do its work, and place the bowl of dough inside to rise)

Bao Dough + Filling:

· To the starter dough, add the flour, 1 tsp baking powder, salt, sugar and oil and mix

· Slowly add the water and knead the dough. Once all the water is added, knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it is smooth.

· Let the dough rise (see starter dough for instructions on best location for productive yeast) for 3 hours

· While waiting for the dough to rise, mix all the ingredients, except for the quail eggs, together in a bowl. Divide the meat mixture evenly into 12 portions. Take each portion and flatten it. Place a quail egg in the middle and wrap the meat around it so that the egg is in the center of the sphere. Set the filling aside.

· Add 1 tsp baking powder to the dough and mix gently but evenly.

· Roll the dough into a log and cut out 12 even pieces of dough. Place back into the bowl and cover to keep from getting hard.

· Take one piece of dough and roll it out flat into a 5” by 5” circle. Place the meat filling ball in the center and start folding the dough toward the center top of the meat filling in one direction. Pinch the top and twist so that the filling is not exposed. Pat the pinched top down so it does not protrude too much. Cover these buns so it does not get hard. Repeat with the other 11 pieces of dough and filling.

· Let the buns, covered, rise for another 45 minutes.


· While the buns are rising, start the steamer so that the water boils.

· Add the buns to the steamer. In the steamer, make sure the buns have at least 2 additional inches of free space around the bun for expansion.

· Steam for 15 minutes on medium-low heat.

· These buns can be eaten right away or let cooled and stored in a air-tight zip-lock bag for up to 1.5 weeks.

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